Bill Jones bought a plug-in for Cart Weaver (a shopping cart add on for Dreamweaver) that allows you to sell digital files and collect through PayPal. We are collaborating to set up a functioning store for Pete LaBonne’s entire oeuvre to date, entitled Gigunda. Today I scanned the covers of twenty six Pete cds. When we get the bugs worked out we hope to off this service to our website customers. Here is a sample from “Gigunda”. This track is from Pete’s “Ask Mr. Breakfast” cd.
I brought the Marlene Dumas book that Monica checked out of the UofR library to painting class last night. I had hoped to show it to Lorraine but she wasn’t in class. She has been really tearing it up lately. She brings in two or three paintings a week that just knock me out. My painting teacher really her work too and he has borrowed the book for a while.
I saw that Lucian Freud’s fat lady painting sold yesterday for more money than any other painting by a living artist. Beautiful tribute/obit to/for Robert Rauschenberg in yesterday’s NYT’s. I particularly like this passage.
The process — an improvisatory, counterintuitive way of doing things — was always what mattered most to him. “Screwing things up is a virtue,” he said when he was 74. “Being correct is never the point. I have an almost fanatically correct assistant, and by the time she re-spells my words and corrects my punctuation, I can’t read what I wrote. Being right can stop all the momentum of a very interesting idea.”
As presidents of the pool association on our street, we are responsible for the chemistry. Today the alkalinity was 120 and the the pH was 7.4 and of course there is no chlorine in there yet because we just took the cover off. The water temperature is a cool 59 degrees but on the way up.
Someone tracked me down on the internet and I joined a small group of people who are trying to organize a reunion for our high school class. There is one woman who works at the school who is very organized and we have been meeting at her house. I had been riding out to the meetings with Jeff Munson but he was out of town for the last meeting. There were only three of us at Diane’s house when I got there so we sat around talking about the people we had or had not contacted. Doug Klick, who teaches at our old school showed up with a box of chocolate cookies. I used to play Bop Baseball with Doug when we were kids. He told a funny story about someone who had just seen this guy from our class while he was in town visiting his mother. Apparently his mom caught him smoking pot in her house and she kicked him out so he stayed at a hotel for the rest of his visit.
About a half hour later Colin showed up. He had been at Burke’s since about noon drinking with his son. I had already tracked Laurice Densmore down online because she was on my page but Colin had called to her for about an hour. He seems to just pick names from the whole list, not just his page, and calls them from Burke’s. And somehow he found my page on Dave Mahoney and liked it quite a bit. Maybe they have internet access at Burke’s.
Mike Rifenstein, a lawyer now, called to say he was working late with a client. He showed up about an hour into the meeting. We picked a menu from the options that were provided by Proietti’s and then we discussed the advantages of hiring a dj over just using the XM radio feed from the VFW and we settled on a dj. I thought it would be more fun to be able to request songs. And then we started talking about classmates again until I had to go pick up Peggi at her Dreamweaver class. Colin was parked behind me but he couldn’t find his keys so Diane said it was ok to drive out across her lawn.
Nicholson Baker attended Rochester’s School Without Walls and then the Eastman School of music. His first novel, “The Mezzanine” took place entirely on the up escalator at Midtown Plaza. He used to advertise in The Refrigerator when it was in print. His new book uses writing from the period leading up the US decision to drop the big one in WWII. I read a sensational review of “Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization” in the New York Times Book Review and then Ron Netsky’s interview with Baker in this weeks “City” paper. Compelling reading. I am now compelled to pick up the book. Have to finish Visual Quickpro Guide to PHP 6 and MySQL5 first.
We opened the neighborhood pool yesterday. It’s not ready for swimming but the cover is off, the filter is running and there are thirty five pounds of chemicals ready to dump in. The adults, who had we had hardly talked to each other all winter, got caught up while the three kids ran around. There are two ten year old girls in our group. We heard that one wants to quit her religious classes because she doesn’t believe in god. Her mom wanted her to learn about her heritage but her father is an atheistic and there is a conflict there. The rabbi wants her back and gave the parents a book they could read with her. The girl’s father said he would read the book if the rabbi would read Christopher Hitchen’s book, “God Is Not Great”. They agreed to this proposal. The other ten year old girl, her best friend, goes to a catholic school and there doesn’t appear to be any conflict there. I was raised Catholic and I was never sure whether they even believed in god.
We are celebrating Mother’s Day by having Peggi’s mom and my parents over for dinner. I am marinating chicken in lime juice, balsamic and seasoned rice vinegar and crushed garlic. Peggi plans to make and angel food cake (no cholesterol) with fresh strawberries. We started a fire for the older folks. This will probably be the last one of the year. I have about two hours to paint before dinner.
Andy McCormick and Karen Majewicz (Dreamland Faces) performed in the dark last night in front of twelve short silent films that had been recently restored by the George Eastman House. Their music was so perfect for these old films that I kept forgetting it was being performed live and that it was not part of the soundtrack. And we were sitting right next to them in the front row. It was a magical night.
Andy plays musical saw, accordion, piano and keyboards and Karen sings like Edith Piaf while playing accordion or piano. They movies included “Mushroom Growing”1915, “How The Cowboy Makes His Lariat” 1917, two sensational “Felix The Cat” movies circa 1925 and “Love, Snow and Ice” 1915, featuring festivities at the famous Ice Palace built in 1898 in Saranac Lake. The complete lineup and a very cool picture of the band is here.
Also in the very cool category would be the John Cassavetes film festival this month at the Dryden.
Peggi’s mom was checking her mail in her new motorized scooter (I call it her electric chair) and she lost control of the thing. She crashed into a few empty chairs and then hit a wall with her leg. She was taken to emergency where a very nice Asian doctor glued her wound together. The skin was too thin to suture. Peggi was teaching her Dreamweaver class and I was at a meeting so we missed her call, her neighbor’s call and the nurse’s call. This is probably why people have cell phones and I guess it is why we don’t.
We met her at emergency and took her home. Peggi spent the night with her. I woke up to a loud thud from a huge limb that fell across the street. Our neighbors took a tree down and offered me the wood. I dragged it home and spent most of the day with the chainsaw. My ears are ringing. We’re off to see Dreamland Faces.
You know someone is playing the numbers on how long you are likely to live. Our neighbor is ninety and I know someone who is eying his house. We are considering a Met Life annuity and we can’t decide whether it is a better idea for us or the insurance company. My life life expectancy is 78 years but I am determined to prove someone wrong. There so many deer around here and as soon as we get to know some of them, like “dog deer” and the “one eared deer”, they disappear. So I assumed they only lived for three years or so but, wrong.
Rich Stim has created a video called “Animal Life Spans” that provides some surprising statistics. Deer live 10 to 15 years. Elephants do better in the wild than in captivity, just the opposite for guinea pigs. And Daddy Long Legs make it through the winter and live three years. And those carpenter ants in your ceiling live for seven years.
Margaret Explosion pulled off an unusual gig last night at the New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua. It was a client appreciation night for a wealth management group. Like Peggi said, “It must be tough trying to mange your wealth”. Bob and Ken set their little amps on the bench behind the drums and Peggi sat in a chair to the left. The place was beautiful and the acoustics were great. (If you click on the photo above you can get a little more detail) Before we started our host asked that we play standards. I said, “We’ll play our standards”. We made up most of the night and the crowd seemed to like it. We sold a cd and got quite a few compliments. Tonight we are back on more familiar ground at the Little Theater Cafe.
The only link I’ve had on this blog since I started this thing has been My Non-Tour Diary (my inspiration) but I’ve had a few requests to add others so I’m going about my business in the right hand column.
Peggi’s mom bought us tickets to last night’s Yo Yo Ma concert at the Eastman Theatre. We sat in the last row on the mezzanine level. The orchestra sort of overpowered the superstar cellist with sound but Yo Yo overpowered them with his visuals. His performance prompted a few questions. Why was he the only one not reading music? Why was he the only one allowed to look around while the others sat rigidly? Why was he the only one gesturing like Pete Townsend as he played? There is an interesting conflict in classical music between studied discipline and heartfelt performances.
I love math, not so much adding and subtracting or balancing the check book but mathematical problems and puzzles. I love Spain. And I like suspense. “Habitación de Fermat” or “Fermat’s Room” had all three of these ingredients and it moved along like a roller coaster ride in a room that kept getting smaller. We missed the locally made “Smoking Laws” but heard there were scenes shot in Mex with the mural that I painted. We parked behind the RGE steam plant off Chestnut and took this low light picture.
I probably shouldn’t be allowed to make tea. I can handle the drip coffee maker but when it comes to to turning the right electric burner on under the teapot, or remembering that I was boiling water before I smell something funny or even remembering to turn the burner off, I fall short. I spent a good bit of the new Marianne Faithful movie last night worrying about whether or not the burner was still on from the cup I made before painting. And I’m getting a little tired of the inane messages on the Yogi Tea bags.
Imagine a surf movie with no Beach Boys music. Dorian Paskowitz , a Stanford Medical graduate drops out to live a surfer’s life and raises nine kids his own way. They have a lot to say about their upbringing in “Surfwise”and it is all fascinating. Especially if you were one of seven kids like I was or the nine that our friend, Brenda was. We ran into Brenda after the movie at the “Gala Night Party” in the Convention Center and she had just gotten over her weeping.
We darted out of the house before the movies to catch the Kentucky Derby on Maureen Outlaw’s big tv. The Kentucky Derby in 1973, the year Secretariat won, was our first date. Steve Hoy drove and we brought a six pack PBR into Churchill Downs with us. Yesterday’s big race lasted all of a minute and the cameras were fixed on “Big Brown” who ran from the outside post to win when the jockey fell off the horse . The cameras quickly turned away while the philly who came in second and then collapsed and was euthanized on the spot making for some weird tv – a little too unscripted for them to even talk about.
Anyway, I started to say I forgot my camera so I missed a good shot at the party of Peggi telling Rita Moreno (Anita) how much she like West Side Story.
Peggi and I started rebuilding a stone wall in our back yard yesterday. It been mostly swallowed up by the hillside. It rained while we were out there but we worked right through it. Brian Williams stopped by and we still kept working. He watched while the conversation turned to taking care of aging parents. There was a harmony to it all.
John Gilmore showed up as Brian was leaving. He had his “Gonzo” t-shirt on. I made a salad and Peggi reheated some beans and greens from the night before. Rick Simpson from across the street popped in. His wife, Monica, was at at a museum conference all week so this gave Rick the opportunity to eat meat. He brought over roasted chicken and pork leftovers from “Su Casa” and we overate before heading out.
We planned to see some art before the movies and were on our way to Jim Mott’s show when Peggi realized she had forgotten the “All Access” movie passes. Back home Peggi got behind the wheel of John Gilmore’s car and we did a repeat trip downtown. There was a beautiful show at RoCo of Alison Saar’s work. Gallery director, Bleu Cease, pointed out the new white on white version of the RoCo logo that we designed for them a few years back.
The movies at the Dryden were running late and we got involved in an absurd crowd control scene before “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson”. The editor of the film was there to introduce it so we were tuned into her efforts. She did a sensational job with this meaty, two hour documentary and it flew by. It was a million times better than the Johnny Depp film.
John struck up a conversation with the editor and she invited us to the “Filmmakers After Dark” party at Java’s. They were showing “On The Waterfront” without the sound. We hung around with movie buff/chef, Gerry Brinkman, who owned the Rochester Club and now runs the restaurant on Wellsley Island. He pointed out how Brando could act with only his face.
The Rochester International High Falls Film Festival started on Wednesday night. The Little Theater was one of the locations and there was a good crowd for our Margaret Explosion gig there. Brian Williams from Lumiere and Bobby Henrie & The Goners sat in on bass or the second week in a row. He is so solid I was able to get up and adjust the recorder while we were playing and he didn’t even notice. We have complimentary passes to the movies because we did the “Quick Reference Guide” in exchange. Now all we need is time to go to the movies. Peggi taught her Dreamweaver class last night and I stayed home to paint. We popped into the opening party at City Hall and sampled Gerry Brinkman’s right on tortilla Espanola.
We also get to sponsor a movie. We picked “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson” and tonight at 9:45 in the Dryden Theater someone will announce that “this movie is being brought to you by 4D Advertising”. That should drive new customers to our virtual doors.
I didn’t even know there was an American Impressionism movement but the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester has mounted a show in the main gallery of such paintings from the Phillips Collection. It is not my cup of tea and I do like tea. My favorite of late is Yogi Tea “Green Tea Rejuvenation”. And I love the European Impressionists.
The MAG has a beautiful small show at the same time in the Lockhart Gallery of Impressionist Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection. Don’t miss this show. There are some real beauties in there that are not normally on display. The Raoul Dufy painting above reminded me of Leo Dodd’s paintings. The Europeans win hands down.
A more interesting contest is the one between Wendell Castle’s clocks and the Midtown clock that he calls “1960s’ kitsch” and “junk”. I like the Midtown one better. Someone has been quietly tidying up MAG’s permanent collection and familiar paintings are shown in new company.
I was looking for a gimmick to make the Margaret Explosion email announcement at least sort of interesting. Its a stretch when you play almost every week. Then I realized that we’ve been doing this for ten years so I put up a page making that milestone and I added a few new photos. Pete LaBonne came up with the ME name when he and Shelley were house sitting here in 1998. We started playing Friday night happy hours at the Bug Jar and kept that gig for about three years while the band morphed. The lineup has solidified but we’re still trying to morph.
We did some overeating this weekend while celebrating my birthday. Peggi’s mom took us (we actually took her but she paid) to Mario’s on Monroe Avenue. It’s over the top Italian but well done and the food is sensational. We started with roasted calamari that was light and tender. We asked a few questions about its preparation and our waitress brought the recipe out to the table. They make their own breadcrumbs and lightly batter the squid with lemon, olive oil, Italian parsley (there is a difference) and salt and pepper. They grill it on an open fire for two minutes tops. Mario himself was sitting at the table next to us with his son. They had a fancy glass wine decantor on the table that looked like a bong. Tony and Tony wandered around the room serenading guests on accordion and guitar. They played something for my mother-in-law that only she recognized.
The following night my parents took us to Nick’s on Culver Road up near the lake. I couldn’t decide between the eggpant parm and the manicotti so I asked the waitress if she could split the order. She brought Nick over for clearance. When he gave his approval I did a quick little drum role on the table. Nick asked if I was a drummer. I nodded and he asked who I played with. I said “Margaret Explosion” and he winced.
Nick brought me over to a picture on the wall of him (down front with a big grin) and Scott LaFaro. Scott is center right in the picture above. He played bass on some early Ornette Coleman records and died in a car crash outside Canandaigua when he was 25. Nick managed Club 86 in Geneva during its heyday when Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, and Tony Bennett all played there.
We have Google handle our email accounts and it does a pretty good job of filtering out the junk but it let this one slip though this morning (my birthday). The above was the extent of it. Thanks. I love it. I am fine. The title of this entry was the subject of the email. Its like an mysterious emotican.
Peggi got up before me and had coffee and a few gifts sitting on my chair. There was a Francis Bacon book, a newsprint sketchpad and a small book of artist’s quotes. I love this one from Otto Dix. “You know, if one paints someones’ portrait, one should not know him if possible. No knowledge! I do not want to know him at all, want to see what is there, the outside. The inner follows by itself. It is mirrored in the visible.”
And our neighbors had a package hanging on our door this morning. It was R. Crumb’s, “Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country”. It has stopped raining so we are headed out for a walk. Other years we’ve taken rides in the country on this day but we have decided to drive down to NYC as soon as we can find a few days without commitments. There is a Philip Guston “Works On Paper” show opening at the Morgan this Friday that I would love to see.
I followed this snake in the woods for a while trying to get a picture. They’re fast. It looks bigger than it actually was. While we were off the trail Peggi found a five point deer rack. I guess some people go out looking for those things. One of our neighbors calls them “rackaholics”. He should know. He is one. He and his wife took a tropical vacation early this Spring and while they were gone he had a surveillance camera set up in the wetlands near his house. He’s a deer watcher and a hunter. When he came back he found some shots of guy with a Rackaholic badge on his jacket looking right into the camera.
We finished a rush job for a guy who kept making changes after accepting our proposal-acceptance form. We hadn’t even made some of the changes when a new email would come in telling us to ignore the last one and do something else instead. The job went way over budget and the guy wanted to make further changes after he gave us the check so I took it right over to the bank. Our branch is right across from the Wegmans on Hudson so I stopped in there to pick up a New York Times.
As I parked the car, I noticed an old man walking between the cars with his groceries. He looked sort of lost. I snagged the paper and came back out and and the guy was still standing there. He had four bags of groceries at his feet and he was clutching a five dollar bill in his hand. He asked if I was driving and I said, “Yeah”. He told me he lived in Seneca Towers on St. Paul. He had a hard time climbing in our Element and I kidded him about it. He told me his nickname was “Hercules” and he was 94 years old and then he launched into a few stories. He worked for the old Rochester Hotel. I grew up here and have no idea where that was. He started as a bus boy and then became a waiter and then a bartender. “The bar only served men in those days”.
He had a hard time hearing me and told me, “My daughter said, ‘Pop, you need a hearing aid’ and he said, ‘What?’ “. He laughed at his own joke. He met a guy at he hotel who was a hobo and they made plans one summer to hop a train. He told me you hop a train at the beginning of a car so when the momentum swings you back you don’t get flung off. They weren’t even to Syracuse when he got a cinder in his eye. They got off there and a pharmacist flushed it out for him. They wound up in Brookline, Massachusetts and bummed around for a while before he realized that kind of life was not for him.
I pulled up in front of Seneca Towers and he tried to give me that five dollar bill again. I said no and shook his hand. He told me one more story. When he was in grade school, a Lieutenant who had served in the Union Army during the Civil War came to speak to their class. He told the kids he had met Lincoln and had shook his hand. So before he left, he shook hands with all of the kids and told them that they could tell their friends that they had shook hands with someone who had shook hands with someone who had shook hands with Abraham Lincoln.
Peggi started teaching a new round of Dreamweaver classes at the Genesee Center for the Arts last night. I rode downtown with her and then walked over to the Memorial Art Gallery for a lecture by local artist, Jim Mott. He travels the country trading paintings for hospitality and his “Itinerant Artist Project” was featured on the Today show. He talked over a PowerPoint presentation, sometimes talking about one thing while flashing paragraphs of type on the screen that had no relation to what he was talking about. But he had fun with it all and he seems like the the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. His photos and paintings are beautiful. They are small, like 6 by nine, so he can travel with them when they are wet in a plywood case with slots. His landscapes are relaxed and painterly but perfectly readable. There is a nice little slide show on his site.
I met Geri McCormick after the lecture and we went across the street to Village Gate to see Fay Victor and her band. They had just driven up from NYC and they were playing in the atrium outside the Bop Shop. They sounded great here, a little bit like the Art Ensemble with Fontella Bass. Avant and soulful at the same time.